The Twins announced today that center fielder Byron Buxton has been activated from the disabled list, but he’ll be optioned to Triple-A as opposed to rejoining the active roster.
Buxton, 21, is regarded as one of the game’s top two prospects and made his Major League debut earlier this season. He didn’t hit much in 11 games before landing on the disabled list due to a thumb injury incurred when sliding into second base on a steal attempt. Buxton batted .189/.231/.270 in 39 plate appearances.
The Twins promoted Buxton earlier this year in an effort to receive more production out of the center field position, but since he landed on the disabled list, Aaron Hicks has come off the disabled list and excelled in the Majors. A former first-round pick and top prospect himself, Hicks has batted .316/.380/.526 in 32 games with Buxton on the shelf.
Buxton was called up from Double-A and had never played at Triple-A prior to his promotion, so a three-game rehab stint there was actually his first action at that level. Buxton went 5-for-12 while rehabbing, and he’ll now have the chance to get some further development time at the minors’ top level. One can imagine that he’ll have the opportunity to come back up in September when rosters expand (if not sooner), depending on his health. That could provide the Twins with a glimpse of a rangy outfield alignment featuring both Hicks and Buxton, which could become a permanent fixture in future seasons.